Operations Management Software Meant For Action

Operations Management Software Meant For Action

Two of my favorite thought leaders in the operations management space have been thinking about enterprise applications, ISA 95, and management. Of course I’m referring to Tim Sowell and Stan Devries of Schneider Electric Software (Wonderware).

It’s interesting that these thoughts come when the email reflector for the ISA 95 committee is really heating up with some of the best discussion I’ve seen in years.

Sowell nails the ultimate problem:

For the last couple of weeks Stan and I have been working with a number of leading companies in Oil and Gas, Mining, and F & B around their Operational Landscape or experience of the future.

Too often the conversations start off from a technology point, and we spend the initial couple of days trying to swing the conversation to the way in which they need to operate in the future and what their plans are around operations.

It becomes clear very quickly that there is a lot of good intent, but real thought into how they need to operate in order to meet production expectations both in products and margin has not been worked through.

Thinking about and discussing technology only leads only to futile intellectual exercise (unless you are a technology developer), to quote another smart person, “Full of sound and fury, yet signifying nothing.”

Devries had begun the discussion showing how using ISA-95 and TOGAF (The Open Group Architecture Framework) together becomes a powerful model for understanding operations.

Operations Management


ISA-95 is the strongest standard for operations management interoperability, and its focus is on data and its metadata.  ISA-95 continues to evolve, and recent enhancements address the needs of interoperability among many applications, especially at Level 3 (between process control and enterprise software systems).  One way to summarize ISA-95’s focus is on business and information architectures.

TOGAF is the strongest standard for enterprise architecture.  One way to summarize TOGAF’s focus is on business architecture, information architecture, systems/application architecture and technology architectures.  When considered with this perspective, ISA-95 becomes the best expression of the data architecture within TOGAF, and ISA-95 becomes the best expression of portions of the business architecture.  Central to the TOGAF standard is an architecture development method (ADM), which encourages stakeholders and architects to consider the users and their interactions with the architecture before considering the required data. 

To drive this thinking toward action, Sowell notes, “Over and over again we see the need for faster decisions, in a changing agile world, and this requires an ‘understanding of the future’ this maybe only 1/2 hour. It is clear that modeling of future is not just something for the planner, it is will become a native part of all operational systems.”

Does this issue require forecasting or predicting? Devries answers:

  • At this stage, we propose a definition of “forecasting”: a future trend which is a series of pairs of information, where the pairs include a value and a time.  The accuracy of the values will be poorer as the time increases, but the direction of the trend (trending down or up, or cycling) and the values in the near future are sufficiently useful.
  • In contrast, “predicting” is an estimate that a recognized event will likely happen in the future, but the timing is uncertain.  This is useful for understanding “imminent” failures.


People tell me that the most important application for the Industrial Internet of Things is predictive maintenance. GE sells that with its jet engines. Companies whose production requires huge, expensive assets are seriously implementing it.

Sowell and Devries take us the step beyond into operations management as well as maintenance.

This is important for manufacturers and producers to digest.

Charlie Gifford’s Operations Management Book Earns Award

Charlie Gifford’s Operations Management Book Earns Award

MOM Chronicles: ISA95 Best Practices

MOM Chronicles: ISA95 Best Practices

The International Society of Automation (ISA) Publications Department has awarded Charlie Gifford the Thomas G. Fisher Award of Excellence for a Standards-Based Reference Publication. The book, which Gifford assembled and edited, is “The MOM Chronicles: ISA-95 Best Practices Book 3.0”.

I have the book and highly recommend it to all who are trying to understand and implement the ideas and models of ISA95—the international standard for the integration of enterprise and control systems. Charlie is an internationally respected practitioner and teacher on manufacturing operations management (MOM).

Charlie offers this comment on the honor, “I sincerely thank ISA for this prominent award named for a distinguished man, Tom Fisher. As Primary Contributing Author and Chief Editor, I accept this award for all 50 contributing expert authors and reviewers of the ISA-95 Manufacturing Operations Management (MOM) Best Practices Working Group. This is the 2nd time the working group’s work products have been recognized for this award. In 2011, ‘When World Collide in Manufacturing Operations, Book 2.0’ was also selected. ISA continues to support the group’s work products of 23 applied technology white papers and 3 books. These documents enable manufacturing systems professionals worldwide to become a primary reference resource over the last 10 years.”

Here is a glimpse into MOM Chronicles:

  • Chapter 1: Applying Global MOM Systems in a Manufacturing 2.0 Approach
  • Chapter 2: The Role of Semantic Models in Smarter Industrial Operations
  • Chapter 3: Applying Manufacturing Operations Models in a Discrete Hybrid Manufacturing Environment
  • Chapter 4: Defining an Operations Systems Architecture
  • Chapter 5: A Workflow-driven Approach to MOM
  • Chapter 6: Scheduling Integration Using an ISA-95 Application in a Steel Plant
  • Chapter 7: Intelligent Integration Interface: I3, A Real-world Application of ISA-95

Here’s a glimpse into When Worlds:

  • Chapter 1: SOA for Manufacturing Overview
  • Chapter 2: Data Architecture for MOM: The Manufacturing Master Data Approach
  • Chapter 3: Building a Manufacturing Transformation Strategy with ISA-95 Methods
  • Chapter 4: Work Process Management for Adaptive Manufacturing
  • Chapter 5: B2MML, Integration Patterns, and Data Mapping
  • Chapter 6: Integration of Manufacturing Intelligence with MOM
  • Chapter 7: Lifecycle of Service Creation using the ISA-95 MOM

Charlie Gifford, PMP, is General Manager & Senior Advanced Manufacturing Consultant at Intelligent Manufacturing Institute, 21st Century Manufacturing Solutions LLC.

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